• Question: Why can you get cancer by drinking too much alcohole?

    Asked by wandymcemsley to Gioia, Iain, Jo, Leo, Mariam on 21 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      Drinking too much alcohol can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which results in scar tissue and damage to the DNA, which increases the rick of cancer.

    • Photo: Mariam Orme

      Mariam Orme answered on 20 Jun 2010:

      I don’t think it’s entirely clear. But a likely reason is that when your liver is processing alcohol, it breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde. This chemical is what we call a carcinogen (meaning that it can promote cancer development), because it increases the rate at which mutations happen, so it increases the chances of you getting dangerous mutations that lead to cells growing out of control and becoming cancerous.

    • Photo: Leo Garcia

      Leo Garcia answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      Alcohol is known to cause 7 kinds of cancer:


      In fact the World Health Organisation classifies alcohol as a carcinogen – a cancer causing substance. When alcohol is in the body, it can create chemicals which damage the DNA in your cells, causing that cell to mutate. It is this mutation which creates the potential for the cell to turn cancerous.

      You should, for a number of reasons, limit how much alcohol you drink, and ensure that you drink in moderation. You should also avoid smoking while you drink, because this increases the risk of developing mouth cancer: